Give no free rides at hospitals
THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is no secret that the promise of free education and free health care won the election for Bruce Golding and the Jamaica Labour Party in the 2007 general election.
On the surface, it looks and sounds like a very noble idea, but this desperate election move has cost the country dearly. Of course, having free health care and free education are what residents in most countries around the world dream of, but never have. Why would we think that Jamaica, with all its economic problems, would be able to offer such a costly gift to its people?
I have two words for this: election gimmick. The plain truth is that we just cannot afford it.
useful funds lost
By implementing the no-user-fee policy in health centres and public hospitals across the island, you open the door to a system that is both understaffed and underequipped.
Previously, everybody was asked to pay some nominal fee when using these facilities, and about 20% of those who used the facility did pay. The money collected then was not nearly enough to make any great difference all at once, but over time, could help to solve some of the equipment and staffing problems.
Those who can pay should be made to pay. Free health care should only be offered to the vulnerable groups in our society that are truly deserving of it, such as under-18s and those over 65 years old.